As the anti-China sentiment grows stronger by the day in India, Xiaomi is seen covering up its branding outside cellphone stores in several cities including Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Chennai, Pune, Agra, Patna and others. The move comes as a way to evade backlash from a campaign to boycott Chinese products in the country.
Xiaomi, which is India's largest smartphone brand ahead of even Samsung, has replaced its brand name outside Mi stores with "Made in India" banners on a saffron backdrop as seen it the company's logo. This comes after the All India Mobile Retailers Association (AIMRA) wrote to all major Chinese smartphone brands, including Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, Realme, OnePlus, Lenovo-Motorola and Huawei, to allow retailers to either cover or remove their signage for a few months so things cool off.
"Damage to these boards should not be the retailer's liability as the circumstances are not in our hands or in our control," the letter, obtained by the Economic Times, said.
The report further added that shop floor promoters have been advised not to wear uniform with Mi branding as it might attract miscreants and cause harm and damage. There's no word on whether other Chinese brands in India will follow a similar suit and agree to AIMRA's request.
Chinese brands in India and Xiaomi's role
The Indian smartphone market is heavily dominated by Chinese brands, acquiring 81 percent market share as per data by Counterpoint Research. Over the last few years, the Chinese brands have grown so popular that Indian smartphone brands were turned a minority with comparatively negligible market share.
Despite the strong sense of anti-China sentiment, which was triggered by the Ladakh standoff between the two countries, Xiaomi continues to remain popular in India. Xiaomi India head Manu Kumar Jain had recently said that the boycott China campaign won't have much of an impact on its business. True to that claim, Xiaomi's Redmi Note 9 Pro Max was sold out in just 50 seconds on Wednesday.
"We are more Indian than anyone else. Our R&D center is based in India, our employees are Indian. We recruit 50,000 people in the country," Jain said recently.